ENTREPRENEUR’S GENDER AND FIRM INNOVATION BREADTH: AN INSTITUTION-BASED VIEW OF SMEs IN AN EMERGING MARKET CONTEXT

International Journal of Innovation Management, Volume 24, Issue 07, October 2020.
This study, at the intersection of gender, entrepreneurship and innovation, investigates the impact of women leadership (vis-a-vis men) on innovation by SMEs in an emerging economy context. Drawing from the institution-based view, we examine the moderating role of regional formal institutions and informal gender norms on the innovativeness of women-led SMEs in India. Using data obtained from the World Bank Enterprise Survey and World Value Survey, and deploying the Poisson regression method, we find that, overall, women-led SMEs perform better than men-led SMEs in innovation breadth. Interestingly, the regional formal institutional quality negatively moderates the relationship between having a female entrepreneur and firm innovation breadth. In addition, regional gender role expectations act as a positive moderator between having a female entrepreneur and firm innovation breadth. Further, the increase in innovation breadth under unfavourable formal institutional quality and informal gender norms is larger for non-technological innovation than for technological innovation.